"Music to my ears" is how council leader, Mike Fisher reacted when building work threatened to drown out his speech at the official opening of the new £20 million bridge across East Croydon station. The noise emanated from Stanhope/Schroders Ruskin Square site next to the new pedestrian link between the bridge and Lansdowne Road. And, said Councillor Fisher, the sounds of preparatory work on the first housing stage of the development was another sign of the regeneration of Croydon coming to life. The bridge itself was described by Cllr Fisher as a "transformational project" for Croydon. He said: "This is real evidence of partnership working to bring about tangible signs of regeneration." The bridge was also good news for commuters, who would have easier access across the station and more importantly a new entrance. Cllr Fisher said: "It will relieve significantly the congestion on the existing entrance." He added the combination of projects, linked with the planned Westfield/Hammerson redevelopment of the Whitgift Centre showed that Croydon was accessible and welcoming. He said: "This reflects Croydon's ability to deliver key infrastructure and create much-needed new jobs. A total of £14 million of the building cost of the 100 metre long bridge has come from Network Rail with the balance from the council. It crosses all platforms of the station to link with the new walkway and Network Rail is working on plans to complete the link on the other side of the station to Cherry Orchard Road. The pedestrian link has been paid for Stanhope/Schroders as part of their project. The overall scheme has also included upgrading Lansdowne Road to provide better pedestrian and cycle routes. Next year will see the completion of a new pedestrian crossing over Wellesley Road, linking the new route directly with the Whitgift Centre. Money for these projects has come from the £50 million Connected Croydon programme of high street, public space and transport improvements across the town centre. The opening ceremony, which was performed by the Mayor of Croydon, Councillor Yvette Hopley, was followed by an evening of entertainment dubbed Celebrate Croydon. A street festival was staged in Lansdowne Road with stalls selling a variety of food, handmade jewellery, leather bags mingling with street entertainers and music, all topped off with a celebratory firework display.
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